Richard's Rating: 7.0
The ingredients of Raw 85% were cacao beans, cane sugar, and sunflower lecithin. All 85% of the cocoa solids came from cacao beans (i.e., there was no added cocoa butter). The 50 gram bar was scored into 15 pieces. It came enclosed in a silver plastic pouch inside a paper box. The best before date was May 2013.
The color of this chocolate was difficult to describe, as it didn't match any of the PANTONE colors well. It was probably closest to Bracken (PANTONE 19-1015), but had more red. The brown was also on the lighter side in medium-dark. The surface of the bar was smooth, but not glossy. There was some scuffing, small bubbles, and a few adhered bits of chocolate. The snap was medium hard.
Raw 85% had an aroma similar to Raw 100%: strong floral, musty earth, cocoa, vinegar, dairy, and spice. The fruit scent was weaker from this chocolate than from Raw 100%.
The taste of Raw 85% was fruity, with berry, cherry, and tropical fruit flavors. The other flavors I tasted were earth, sour, acidic, tart, and tannin. The sourness, while still strong, was less dominant than it was in Raw 100%.
This chocolate had a smooth melt. The chocolate flavor lasted 10 to 15 seconds after the chocolate was gone, giving a short length. The finish was tannin, somewhat sour, and slightly acidic.
After reviewing Raw 85%, I tasted it against the other 11 single origin Ecuador chocolate bars we've reviewed, and found it came in fourth in our updated stack ranking. If all raw chocolates are this good, the poor taste reputation of raw chocolates is completely undeserved. You can see our most current rankings of single origin chocolates on the Chocolate Rankings page.
You can purchase Raw 85% for $5.99 in the U.S. and Canada directly from Pacari or for $5.75 from Chocosphere.